The eyes of the luthier are fixated
on the degrading and poorly fitted Dejacques bridge,
a small piece of wood that arches
at the top of the damaged instrument -
a prized 18th century treasure
originating from Brescia, a city in Northern Italy.
With a napkin in hand lightly
soaked in an oily substance,
he unhooks the piece,
then takes a replacement bridge
perfectly fitted for it. He cracks a smile.
This viola d'amore has seen better days,
with usage and prolonged handling
wearing the value of the instrument down.
Only an expert can bring a worn-out bird
seeking its once gracious and hypnotic voice
back to life with care and precision.
This luthier is a* surgeon,
a master at installing a sound-post replacement,
without gouging or harming
the quality of the instrument in the process.
This luthier is a listener;
as he retrieves and dusts off a case
filled with a spare set of strings,
he installs and finely tunes them
but never over the desired pitch.
Tense and crucial,
like the rising crescendo of a string quartet,
he strums the new strings for evidence of life,
listening to and directing the cry of each one,
like a composer.
This luthier is a healer,
repairing the cracks of the violin
by implementing a tactic he learned
on his many trips to Crawley, England,
where his teacher had once trained him;
by using cubic, wooden studs and small clamps,
he gains better control at closing the cracks just enough
to lace the opening with an adhesive
with little to no force or pressure.
This luthier is an artist,
*repairing the instruments
that yearn for the sound of music,
their very raison d'être.
His string and wooden patients
scream in agony for healing and peace
with voices unheard to the people,
but deafening to him.
He leaves his signature on each new patient
as their once damaged and lifeless souls
dance to the tune of his work,
healing them, promising the advent
of a future performance.
Let them rejoice. Let the music soar once again.
I love music. LOVE it.